Nile - At the Gate of Sethu
Nuclear Blast
Death Metal
11 songs (47:45)
Release year: 2012
Nile, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Tony
Major event
I reserved this one a while ago, and given the fact that I have been absent for weeks due to the tribulations of life, I felt it necessary to at least return with this one. I know how big of a deal Nile is globally. Here in the States, at least in my Metal circle, we always found it funny if not admirable that a few guys from South Carolina and a dude from Greece can get together and make Egyptian Death Metal. Normally a band that truthfully sticks to one lyrical or modality concept is bound to run out of energy. With a band like Nile led by the legendary Karl Sanders, the Egyptian time machine never runs out of slave power.

I distinctly remember a curious post around the web about Sanders’ declaring that the ridiculous drumming of the aforementioned Greek George Kollias would be even more incomprehensibly transcendental. For a man in his 30s, he mastered techniques that would take most drummers two lifetimes to learn. Behind his machine like stick transitions and his swivel technique bass runs, it is easy why a novice drummer like me gawks for the whole record. But with At the Gate of Sethu , we needed another positive build on the pyramid (pun intended) to reach the peak. Those Whom the Gods Detest was a fantastic album following Ithyphallic which had contested fanfare among the die hards.

Upon first gazing upon this plastic case I see the constant Ancient Egyptian themes and the strangely long song titles. So here I am, hoping that the first song makes the same impact that Kafir! made on me. Here are the detuned guitars following a torturous intro, the riffs are as chunky and refined as ever. What always amazed me is that Karl Sanders is not just someone who thinks that Ancient Egypt is cool. He is a scholar of the history and the music. All of his solos genuinely use scales and modes from those lands. There is another droning bridge briefly before a killer solo. Sanders has not lost a beat. The production is excellent as the bass guitar is as audible as ever even amidst Kollias’ incredible progressions. After Sanders shreds for a while, we get the true meat and potatoes of the song. They are equally as satisfying as their best. Sanders’ voice is similar to his current stuff, but this time it is more infernal and sickening. Dallas Toler-Wade’s grunts provide a great layer. The result is a song that not only declares their stupefying talent but opens the “Gates of Sethu” for some real desert destruction. The next song is where the album really takes shape.

This next song (forget the title) has a furthered element of localized Egyptian flair to it. Kollias kills it as promised. To me, the best song on the first six tracks or so is The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh. This one like the rest shows the speed and clarity of Kollias. Surely this track is about the eventual decay that follows even the finest preservative methods in the ancient world. His lyrics hold up well as he still shows that the Egyptian theme is not worn out. There are some awesome riffs in here, with great solos. When my Wrath is Done shows another display of folk instrumentations before the next platter of awesome riffs.

Later in the album the lyrics of course do the justice to the Egyptians as always in some tracks which highlight Egypt’s reverence to the dead. As a history major, it is exciting to see that the blackened temples of Anubis are always graced by the songbook of Sanders. The cacophony continues all the way through the end of the album. The Chaining of the Iniquitous has more folk instruments, these are flutes and horns. The computer generated backgrounds during intros are always fun and make Egypt even more frightening than Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments This final track is similar to the older track Sarcophagus in its slow but still intense delivery. Kollias still makes it priority to sprinkle in some double bass barrages.

Well, that was fun. We got what we expected: three immensely talented musicians making Death Metal about ancient Egypt. This was no In Their Darkened Shrines, but it was a terrific album nonetheless.

Killing Songs :
The Fiends who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased, The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh, Tribunal of the Dead
Tony quoted 86 / 100
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Nile that we have reviewed:
Nile - Vile Nilotic Rites reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed reviewed by Kynes and quoted 78 / 100
Nile - Worship the Animal - 1994: The Lost Recordings reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Nile - Black Seeds Of Vengeance reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
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